Singapore Punches above its Weight in Research Efficiency

Presented by Bibliometrics Director Iain Craig at a recent Wiley-Blackwell research seminar, the publisher analyzed Singapore’s scientific productivity using bibliometric data provided by Thomson Scientific. Bibliometrics is the comparative analysis of quantity and quality of scientific output – measured using the aggregates of indexed titles at a country and subject level.

Economic indicators collected by the Organization for Economic Co-operation (OECD) – such as the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the percentage of GDP spent on research & development (R&D), and the number of researchers – were co-examined with the bibliometric indicators. The analysis provided a fascinating and revealing perspective on the effect of Singapore’s scientific funding in terms of scientific output.

The data showed that Singapore’s scientific productivity proportion, as a proportion of the world’s output, continued to rise at a rate that far exceeded the overall world growth rate. In fact, Singapore’s output increased by some 72% from 2000 to 2007.

The bibliometric analysis also showed that Singapore, with an R&D expenditure of approximately US$3.1 billion in 2006, generated publications at a rate of 0.3 publications per researcher. This ratio is higher than that of both China and Japan – who had spent significantly more money on R&D in the same time period.

The number of publications by Singapore researchers in high impact journals had also increased year on year – indicating that publishing activity in Singapore continues to take on a more external and outward-looking focus.

International collaboration is increasing in intensity and Singaporean researchers are now publishing high quality research material with more countries. The international research status of Singapore is rising – hence presenting more opportunity for further improvements to be made in publication quality through global partnerships.

“The positive implications of this ‘ecometric’ data are tremendous”, said Mr. Craig.

“Singapore’s research output is on track to reach, and then exceed, the world average in the next few years. The country has definitely established itself as an essential collaboration partner for both regional and international research institutes.”

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